Theresa Kemp (nee Travis) lived courageously with a big heart and wide open arms, ready to embrace equally a call to adventure or a call to comfort - whatever the occasion required. She was surrounded by her loving family as she passed on May 5, 2022 at Peter Lougheed Centre.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband and partner in love and adventure Barry, her daughter Joanna and fiance Josh, siblings Rick (Cindy), Roberta, Jim (Tara), nephew Connor; and her beloved grandson Kemp, lifelong friend Jean Jewell and countless others.
It brings us comfort to know that Theresa is now reunited with her parents, Richard and Louisa Travis, her grandparents, brother Robert, all of her beloved aunts and uncles, grandparents, ancestors and friends whose legacy and love provide a vibrant glow in all our hearts.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Theresa was the oldest of four siblings. She quickly learned her place in the family fold as both caregiver and protector of her tribe. Her creative talents began in the upstairs bedroom attic ‘office’ as president of the “We Try Harder” club: a secret girls-only club that came complete with custom buttons, minutes, and action items from their weekly clubhouse meetings. Throughout her childhood, Christmas at granny’s always featured an original play written and directed by Theresa, and starring her brother Rick and whoever else she could wrangle into it!
Theresa was an excellent student, an avid reader, accomplished piano player, die-hard Beatles fan, and a dedicated member of the CGIT, always ready to try any new hobby or experience that piqued her curiosity. Her natural propensity for caregiving led to her involvement with Aid for the Elderly, developing skills that would become helpful in later years, as she dedicated much of herself to caring for her granny, parents, aunt Mary, and so many others. A generous and loving heart from a young age, Theresa always considered the needs of others.
Theresa was tirelessly dedicated to the joy and well-being of her family. Barry, her beloved husband of 40+ years, her daughter Joanna and grandson Kemp each filled her heart daily and buoyed her spirit beyond measure. Barry and Theresa, both pioneers in early computer education, locked eyes across a room of humming monitors and whirring machines back in 1980, and were abuzz for each other ever since. They fell in love and were married in 1981. Throughout their years together, Barry and Theresa explored thousands of miles and numerous terrains as cross country skiers, cyclists, hikers, campers, cruisers and road-trippers. They also loved working in and enjoying their magical garden in Hidden Valley. In 1989, they proudly welcomed their gorgeous daughter Joanna into their lives, and kept on adventuring as three, starting with Hawaii when Jo was only a baby.
Barry acknowledges that although he may have been the number one love of Theresa’s life for many years, he started to lose ground very quickly once her grandson Kemp came onto the scene. Nana and Kemp time was always a special event, filled with carefully planned activities and fun, inventive opportunities. She fostered in him a love of crafting, adventuring, bike riding, picnics, and the beauty of following one’s curiosity.
As a lover of gardening, Theresa leaves a legacy of beauty all over Calgary and Airdie. Whatever place she called home, a backyard oasis was sure to follow. She also designed and created garden landscapes for numerous friends. Gardening was her happy place and source of rejuvenation. Even on days when she was tired or feeling unwell, she would work away in her garden as it gave her so much joy and energy.
Theresa’s impact extends far beyond her family. As a teacher and mentor for many years, she has touched numerous lives. She taught with the CBE from 1979 to 1997. She was also a long time dedicated member of TOPS where she met many friends who encouraged each other to live their healthiest lives possible.
As an artist, creator and crafter, Theresa was often quilting, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, painting, zentangling, rock painting, sculpting, drawing, felting, and still always looking for the next medium to try. Theresa often brought her loved ones along, taking classes with Joanna, her dear sister Roberta, and others– bonding, laughing and inspiring each other with their mutual inventiveness, talent and creativity.
As a wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend, she had an endlessly generous and loving heart, always ready to listen, to hug, to support, to feed, to laugh with and to play with. Theresa always opened her heart to family and friends, showing love and caring through her thoughts and deeds. Even in the most challenging times, Theresa was always quick to laugh while remaining strong, bright, and generous until the end of her life. We are forever grateful for the 68 years she spent with us.
It is an understatement to say she will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations will be gratefully received by Ovarian Cancer Canada, the only Canadian charity dedicated to supporting the necessary research in this field. www.ovariancanada.org.
Looking for another way to honour Theresa? She would be thrilled to see you finally take that pottery/watercolour/crafting class you’ve always thought about taking. Bring her with you. She’ll love it.
A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 3:00pm at Evan J. Strong Funeral Services North (3625 12 St NE). Please dress colorfully and bring your favourite Theresa stories to share at the reception afterward.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Theresa Eloise (Travis) Kemp, please visit our floral store.
Ovarian Cancer Canada
205-145 Front St. East, Toronto ON M5A 1E3